Prenatal Exposure to Urban AIR Pollution and Pre- and Postnatal Brain Development (AIR-NB)
BiSC is funded by the European Research Council (AirNB project), whose overall objective is to assess the effect of prenatal exposure to urban air pollution on prenatal and postnatal brain development.
Air pollution is the leading city-related environmental hazard and the leading environmental contributor to the global burden of disease. Studying the structural and functional brain effects of exposure to air pollution during neurological and fetal development during the first years of life is important because the effects at this time are potentially irreversible and the greatest opportunities for prevention occur during these periods.
Why urban air pollution and pre- and postnatal brain development?
Strong evidence suggests that environmental toxins contribute to a silent global pandemic of brain development problems. Optimal brain development involves multiple complex stages that must be completed sequentially, primarily during fetal and early life. These processes are exceptionally vulnerable to interference from harsh environments. Poor brain development leads to: neurobehavioral disorders (i.e. autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the prevalence of which appears to be increasing; dysfunctional cognitive development and harmful long-term effects on well-being and health. Having been raised in urban areas is associated with a detrimental impact on brain function and an increased risk of neurobehavioral disorders.
Taken together, rapid urbanization and a higher prevalence of neurobehavioral disorders in urban areas are expected to accelerate the already considerable global burden associated with these conditions in the coming years.
This project has received funds from the European Research Council (ERC) within the framework of the European Union’s research and innovation program, Horizon 2020, within the framework of the ERC-2017-ADG call.